MISTER BOOTS by Carol Emshwiller


Age Range: 9 - 12
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A spare, graceful Depression-era story tells of a ten-year-old in the desert befriending a man who’s also a horse. Bobby lives with her mother and older sister, who sell homemade knitting to pay for mealtime beans. Under a tree, Bobby meets Mister Boots, a thin, bedraggled man who’s spent most of his life as a horse and occasionally changes back. When Mother dies, older sister Jocelyn and Mister Boots fall in love. The sudden reappearance of their violent father (Bobby’s covered with scars from him) brings a simmering danger. The father takes Bobby on the road with his magic show because he thinks (and has thought for ten years) that Bobby’s a boy. Jocelyn and Mister Boots go along to keep an eye out. Bobby’s entranced by the magic show, but the father’s volatility erupts and nothing is safe. Emshwiller writes everything with care and truth, from Bobby’s gender musings to the nature of horses. Plainspoken and quietly mystical. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-670-05968-4
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2005